Redeeming Miles


Redeeming your airline miles is what it’s all about. I mean, seriously, would you travel so much for work if you didn’t have this perk? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Learning how to manipulate your various miles programs is the number one requirement for any serious business traveler. Once you’ve mastered that skill, you can start planning how to maximize your redemption potential.

Redeem for Flights

The age old mileage redemption is for free flights or upgrades. Redeeming your miles or points for an airline ticket is the very most straightforward way to go. You book your flight directly through your airline’s frequent flyer website, and cross your fingers that rewards seats are available for that day.

Redeem for Hotels

If you aren’t worried about the transportation, or you’re just so rich in miles you can pay for your flight and have miles left, most programs will allow you to use your airline miles to book a stay at a partner hotel. If you’re using a hotel points program, this will be your easiest bet.

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Redeem for Experiences

Several airline and hotel programs have introduced a deal where you can swap your miles for once in a lifetime experiences. These options will allow you to do anything from flying lessons to tickets to the Olympics to a shot at fantasy baseball camp. I love these deals, meant for the traveler with everything.

Redeem for Retail

Hotel rewards programs, more often than airline miles programs, often allow members to redeem points for various types of retail therapy, like products, movie tickets or restaurant gift cards. Airlines frequently allow members to redeem miles through their own online shopping store.

Redeem for Charity

If you’re feeling altruistic, or if you need a nice tax break, you can generally donate your miles to one of the airline or hotel’s member charities.

Sell Your Miles

It isn’t easy, but if you want to get rid of your miles for cold, hard cash, you can attempt to sell your airline miles.